Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Separating the Terror and the Terrorists"

Clark Hoyt, the public editor at the New York Times has an article today about the word "terrorist" and when his paper uses it. The issue is complicated and tricky and Hoyt tried to present all the wrinkles, and was true to the complexity of the subject.

I'll likely have a longer post on this subject tomorrow, but for now here's the article and a quick take: I thought Hoyt did a good job of explaining the paper's point of view, I was pleased to learn the Times has no policy on when the word "terrorist" or "terror" is to be used ("the paper has no formal policy on the terms.")

One thing sure to offend our friends on the right was this: Toward the article's end, Hoyt attempted to explain why the paper's former Jerusalem bureau chief did not use the word "terrorist" to describe "a gunman [who] infiltrated a settlement and killed a 5-year-old girl in her bed." I thought the reasoning, as explained by Hoyt, was legitimate, and I was glad to see the question explored, but I would not have come to the same conclusion. I expect most others will find the whole arguement invalid; some will even question the humanity of those who would even ask the question.

For the record, the Public Editor stated his own disagreement with the bureau chief's reasoning.

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